Tuesday, 15 May 2012

My journey down Avenue Q: Could Puppetry Be My Purpose? - Part Five: To Avenue Q and Beyond!

It seems pretty clear that puppetry is indeed something worth pursuing further. With just a few weeks until opening night, "Avenue Q" is looking spectacular! It's all coming together very nicely.

We have our puppets. Singing, choreography and puppeteering is coming along brilliantly. The band is all ready to go. Professional cast photography has been done. The set has been built, and we're currently in the process of painting and dressing it. Promotion has begun, and tickets are starting to sell.

I am sharing the puppetry of Nicky and Trekkie Monster in the show, and playing some dancing rats in one scene. Initially, I ran a couple of introductory lessons on puppetry, and have been assisting the cast throughout the show. They're really doing great!

I applied for a puppeteer job with Camp Quality about a month ago. I got on the short list! But sadly didn't make the cut. There was no audition, so it wasn't due to any lack of puppetry skills. But the ad did state that you'd need a manual drivers license, which I don't have. I figured I'd apply anyway, just to see what happens. I think it was my roles in Avenue Q that impressed them puppet-wise.

I've been thinking a lot about applying for an internship or scholarship with The Jim Henson Company over in either the New York or Los Angeles studios. I haven't spent much time looking into the specifics or costs or whether or not you need a fancy degree to get in there in the first place. But it's on my mind. Jen has said this could be doable if I went away for the first six months and then she would join me for the rest of it (assuming it was a one year thing).

Living in the US would be very expensive though. I don't know if the position would be paid, or if I would have to find a retail or hospitality job to pay for living expenses. But money aside, I think it would be the ultimate experience, being trained up by the Muppet masters, and working towards a permanent position on productions like Sesame Street and movies starring The Muppets!

Much like my 15 years of effort towards making a big break into the animation, cartooning and/or music worlds, the puppet world is another avenue that interests me. But I do think my options in all of these areas are very slim in Australia. You really have to make it big overseas before you're recognised by art/music/entertainment bigwigs in Australia.

My other idea was to officially start my own puppet show business here in Brisbane. The parenting magazines have pages of ads about clowns and magicians for kids' birthday parties, but nothing about puppeteers. Jen has expressed interest in helping me set this up. I would need to look into business loan options to get started. We need a portable puppet theatre, some more puppets, a story! Gift bags with the faces of the puppet characters on them. Perhaps a "Make your own puppet" activity session.


I also noticed while down in Melbourne that there was an adult puppet play (inspired by Avenue Q) as part of the comedy festival called, "Who Killed John Bearington III?" This show unfortunately began its run a week after we returned home to Brisbane. So I didn't get to see it. But I'm inspired to write my own puppet production that isn't for kids. Something I could showcase at The Brisbane Arts Theatre (now that I'm a member), with handpicked cast members from Avenue Q and Impro Mafia perhaps. And I would love to take it to the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and the Sydney one too.

These are options. If packing up and leaving the country to pursue my dream isn't something I can afford to do in the near future, then trying to do something amazing right here could potentially spark up some interest from the right people, if it's good enough and well publicised.

Just a few thoughts on post-Avenue Q puppet pursuits. I would like to think that my involvement in this show could open up some doors.